Every once and a while I get something that is just too good not to share. Dean is a fellow Master’s Program Graduate and is the CEO of one of the finest Ad agencies I’ve ever been exposed to. I received this article last week from him and thought it dovetailed into the branding series I just wrapped up. I hope you enjoy Dean as much as I do -
Does your company logo really make a difference?
Identity is powerful. Your logo will be front and center on every piece of promotional material you’ll ever create and it will enter the minds of millions over the lifetime of your business.
“Just how important is my company logo?” If this question crosses your mind once in a while along with the oh so seldom: “what if I get audited thought”, keep reading. Consider for a moment that you’ll spend an estimated 5% to 10% of your annual revenue on marketing materials where your logo will be boldly communicating - a negative vibe, a mute statement, or a commitment to innovation and excellence. Identity is powerful. Your logo will be front and center on every piece of promotional material you’ll ever create and it will enter the minds of millions over the lifetime of your business.
The fact is, we live in an extremely visual society. Giorgio Armani, Ferrari, Donna Karan, Rolex, Nike, and Dell are a few representations of identity, looking good, and performing well. These companies are spending millions of dollars and thousands of personnel hours protecting and building their identities. But they’re also making truckloads of money because we live in a society where looks matter, and looks influence buying decisions in the retail and corporate worlds. The difference between these brand-committed companies and many others is that those who invest in their identity capitalize on the power that design has to lure the mind in their direction.
Based on a small research sampling of around 2000 businesses, my agency discovered that 8 out of 10 small to medium size companies had a less than adequate logo while close to half the larger ones had a less than adequate logo. We qualify “less than adequate” based on design features such as obtrusive or dated colors, incompatible type treatments, dated type treatments, clumsy or awkward graphics and type, no conveyed meaning, poor size relation, and lack of easy reproduction. We judge using these factors, plus our 20 years of experience in branding.
We decided to take it a step further and survey representatives of the companies whose cards we reviewed. It was no surprise that we discovered those with well designed logos and identities had credible stories to tell about the impact their corporate image has made in their marketplace. They remarked that positive conversations would often be started when the recipient looked at their logo, their card, their brochure, their shirt, etc. Conversations where the brand played a role in winning new business were frequent as well. Administrative staff spoke confidently about their image, sales people said they would hand out more materials, and the sales process was improved, as were sales results in most every case.
On the flip side, we found that approximately 50% of those companies with a poor logo defended their ineffective brand. We also found adverse reactions and very little willingness to discuss the matter until we started talking to the sales and marketing people. They had plenty to say. “We hate our logo,” or “Our image stinks,” or “I’m embarrassed to hand out a business card,” and many more tiptoe slams against the brand (the company). We observed that not only was the logo unprofessional, but in about 90% of the cases, the rest of the company’s materials such as collateral and the Web followed suit and the sales staff was not motivated to present it.
At Strata-Media, we’ve designed logos for more than 1000 companies across the country, from small concerns to Fortune 500. Since our inception, we’ve never once had a client say they wished they didn’t re-design or upgrade their logo. There can be, however, timing issues when changing your logo. When you’re company relocates is a great time to change your identity because you will be re-printing most of your materials and putting up new signage. Launching a new ad campaign or producing a corporate brochure is great time because you can leverage the expense and exposure of the new printed materials and advertising. Repeated complaints from your staff are grounds to strongly consider a change. In addition to your company’s feedback, it pays to have a marketing professional review your company’s overall image about once every three to five years to ensure the brand is staying in tact. Strata-Media reviews at least 50 brands per year and every client who participates in the exercise says it was a valuable experience.
In closing, changing your logo is definitely a cost consideration, but in some cases it’s more expensive to keep an ineffective logo than it is to change it. There’s often at least one competitor with a stronger image, and that company, without question, will attract more business because of their brand and their commitment to the details. My recommendation: be that brand.